Discussion in 'Draft Day Zone' started by Hostile, Apr 22, 2005.
Bucs select...Donte Nicholson
S | (6'0", 212, 4.57) | OKLAHOMA
Strengths: Has above average size and is powerful. Has adequate straight-line speed for a SS-type. Fills hard and is aggressive in run support. Is an extremely physical player. Does a good job of getting through traffic. Is a punishing tackler with explosive short-area power. Does a great job as a blitzer; shows good initial quickness, burst and instincts in that capacity. Is intimidating over the middle of the field in coverage. Has better than average athletic ability for a SS type. Is at his best in zone coverage. Will time his hits well and makes receivers think twice about laying out for a ball in his zone. Has good straight-line speed in coverage and can make up some time when the ball is in the air because of his good closing burst. He has decent ball skills.
Weaknesses: Instincts, technique and recognition skills in coverage are poor. He plays somewhat out of control at times and will be over-aggressive versus the play-action. He takes too many false steps still and will get himself in bad position as a result. His angles are not always great in pursuit. He needs to learn to read his keys quicker while showing better discipline. He has adequate-to-good speed and athletic ability for a SS but is not fluid enough to match up versus most slot WR's in the NFL. Is a bit stiff in the hips. Is at his best in coverage when allowed to "spy" closer to the LOS. Has adequate range in the deep-half but will get in trouble if he takes a false step and if forced to catch up from behind. Has trouble redirecting without losing too much in transition.
Overall: Nicholson transferred to Oklahoma from Mt. San Antonio Junior College prior to the 2003 season. He was supposed to be overshadowed by Brandon Everage as a junior in '03 but he quickly became the best safety on the Sooner defense and wound up with 90 total tackles, 10 TFL, six sacks, two INT's and four PBU. He started all 13 games as a senior in 2004, finishing with 72 total tackles, three TFL, two sacks, one INT and five PBU. Nicholson is a late Day 1 prospect with the size, toughness, tackling skills, aggressiveness and enough speed to develop into a starting strong safety in the NFL. Nicholson will never have great range in zone coverage or be able to match up against most slot cover corners in the NFL, but if he can improve his recognition skills and become more technically sound and disciplined in coverage, he can become adequate in the passing game. In the meantime, Nicholson has the physical tools and mentality to contribute on special teams.
* Player biographies are provided by Scouts Inc.
Donte Nicholson, SS, Oklahoma
Height: 6:01.3 Weight: 216
Overview: Nicholson is regarded as one of the most physical tacklers in the country, reminding the Sooners coaching staff of former All-American Roy Williams for the way that he punishes ballcarriers and tight ends. Nicholson was a Division II Defensive Player of the Year, adding All-San Gabriel Valley and All-Inland Valley honors from his rover position as a senior at Diamond Bar (Cal.) High School. He then spent the next two seasons starring at Mount San Antonio Junior College before enrolling at Oklahoma in 2003. The two-time All-Conference choice also earned All-American second-team honors in 2002 at Mount San Antonio. Nicholson immediately won the starting strong safety job upon arriving at Oklahoma, ranking second on the team with 90 tackles (58 solos), including six sacks and ten stops for losses in 2003. The Big Twelve Conference Newcomer of the Year also intercepted two passes, deflected four others, recovered a fumble and caused two fumbles as a junior. He started every game in 2004 as an All-Big Twelve coaches' pick. Nicholson produced 72 tackles (50 solos) with two sacks, three stops for losses, six pass deflections and an interception in 2004. In 27 games at Oklahoma, he registered 162 tackles (108 solos), eight sacks for minus-56 yards and 13 stops for losses of 67 yards. Nicholson also returned three interceptions for 32 yards, batted away ten passes, caused two fumbles and recovered another.
Analysis: Positives...Has a tall, lean and almost wiry frame, but possesses broad shoulders, long arms, large hands, good speed and strength...Shows good straight-line quickness and is a good worker in the weight room, as his power translates to the field...Flashes timing to break on the ball and make the play...Hits like a linebacker, but has more than enough quickness and athletic ability to play deep in pass coverage...Takes proper angles in pursuit and keeps outside leverage...Has the foot speed and lateral agility to slip through trash...Has the body control to make good body adjustments going for the ball in flight... Punishing tackler who does a good job of diagnosing the run, showing a sudden closing burst when chasing in long pursuit...Fills the rush lanes with good aggression...As a blitzer, he has the burst needed to penetrate and does a good job of timing his hits...He comes off the edge with urgency and has the vertical speed to flush the quarterback out of the pocket...His hands are semi-soft and he looks natural going up for the ball, doing a good job of timing his leaps...Better in zone coverage than in one-on-one situations, playing in position vs. combo routes...Uses his hands to reroute tight ends underneath...Attacks receivers in his area with force and flashes the ability to read and get a quick jump on the ball.
Negatives...Not that instinctive, as he is only adequate to react to plays and blocking schemes initially, but once he locates the ball, he will play with good urgency...While he hits with good explosion, ballcarriers sometimes slip off those tackles, as he does not always generate strength to shock and jolt...When stepping up to fight combo blocks, he lacks the strength to maintain position at the point of attack...He has a good feel for blocks, but needs to use his hands better to protect his legs, as he is susceptible to cut blocks...Needs a clear lane to get to the quarterback blitzing off the edge, as he can get stoned and widened if an offensive lineman picks up on him...Gets a little reckless in his play and needs to show better discipline...When he gets too aggressive, he does not make good reads...Must do a better job of reacting to blocking schemes, as he is slow to protect himself with his hands...His hip stiffness prevents him from staying with the receivers for too long in man coverage...Better playing in the deep zone, as he does not have the suddenness to catch up when the receiver gets by him...Loses relationship with the receiver when he has to redirect in transition, as he does not open his hips properly to suddenly turn and go...Will bite on play action and misdirection and does not have the stop-and-go action to immediately reposition when taken out of the play.
Agility tests: 4.53 in the 40-yard dash...315-pound bench press...255-pound hang clean...35-inch vertical jump...10'3' broad jump...32 5/8-inch arm length...9 7/8-inch hands.
High school: Attended Diamond Bar (Cal.) High School...Earned Division II Defensive Player of the Year and All-San Gabriel Valley and All-Inland Valley honors from his rover position as a senior.
Personal: Communications major...Parents are Clarence and Lela Reed and Donald Nicholson... Born 12/18/81 in Los Angeles, California...Resides in Walnut, California.
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